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  #841  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2020, 9:59 AM
accord1999 accord1999 is offline
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Originally Posted by exit2lef View Post
Since Austin currently has no LRT, what is the basis of the claim of low ridership? Are you referring to current ridership on Capital Metro bus routes or Austin's one commuter rail line? Or is this based on forecasted ridership of planned LRT?
Austin's low bus ridership suggests that are no suitable corridors/routes that make sense to invest billions to upgrade to LRT.



Is there any corridor where 60+ full-size buses go through per hour during peak hours? Because that's probably the absolute minimum where LRT's higher capacity would be useful and start being more cost effective than buses.
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  #842  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2020, 3:11 AM
austin242 austin242 is offline
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Low ridership is exactly why we need something. When most bus lines only run every 25min at best during rush hour I'm not surprised our ridership is so low. I ride the bus/train nearly every day in Austin and I can say we need anything we can get. We need real rail service. (one that doesn't run every 30min at rush hour and stops service at 7ish/ Red Line Commuter Rail). Along the blue line you have the 7,20, 670,671, 672 and others (maybe 40 buses during rush hour based on schedules). Those lines are all very heavily used. By building the train you could move the busses that are currently on those lines to another part of the city making ridership go up in a new area (along with the blue line increasing ridership) that now runs every 10min or so. The other option is to do nothing in one of the biggest cities in North America. That would be idiotic. The public transit ridership in Austin will never go up until the public transit becomes a viable option. For those of you who think a bus rapid transit line would be an adequate alternative to rail you are right for people who already use public transit but for those who don't will never get out of their car to use it. However the majority of people seem to be on board with forgetting their car when it comes to some type of dedicated rail. It's time for Austin to go bold or sit in their cars for an hour or more in traffic every day and go F themselves. I on the other hand have been taking my bike to the rail station everyday and avoiding traffic and having a pleasant stress free commute (35min door to door with a little exercise too). I just wish everyone in this city had the same opportunity as me. They will have the option to change the city for the better in 2020. My prediction is that the Vote will be close but might fail like it did in the past if they can't convince people it helps their area of the city. It won't be because it was too expensive but more so because Texans are selfish. If you can't convince them that it's going to help them directly they won't care if it indirectly relieves traffic in their part of the city. Luckily they made sure to include metro rapid lines in all the areas that the rail isn't being placed. That I think will get this vote across the line. Ridership after will skyrocket once this is complete 10yrs from now. By 2030 the city could be 1.5mil city proper with a metro of 3mil. That is a lot of people to move with no new surface infrastructure. Let's hope we vote yes and more. Maybe we will even get that rail from Austin to San Antonio.

Last edited by austin242; Jan 26, 2020 at 3:23 AM.
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  #843  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2020, 3:30 AM
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Let's hope so.
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  #844  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2020, 5:28 AM
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Originally Posted by austin242 View Post
The public transit ridership in Austin will never go up until the public transit becomes a viable option. For those of you who think a bus rapid transit line would be an adequate alternative to rail you are right for people who already use public transit but for those who don't will never get out of their car to use it. However the majority of people seem to be on board with forgetting their car when it comes to some type of dedicated rail.

They will have the option to change the city for the better in 2020. My prediction is that the Vote will be close but might fail like it did in the past if they can't convince people it helps their area of the city. It won't be because it was too expensive but more so because Texans are selfish. If you can't convince them that it's going to help them directly they won't care if it indirectly relieves traffic in their part of the city.

Luckily they made sure to include metro rapid lines in all the areas that the rail isn't being placed. That I think will get this vote across the line. Ridership after will skyrocket once this is complete 10yrs from now. By 2030 the city could be 1.5mil city proper with a metro of 3mil. That is a lot of people to move with no new surface infrastructure. Let's hope we vote yes and more.

Maybe we will even get that rail from Austin to San Antonio.
I'll agree that it will take good transit to get more people out of their cars. But I do not think 51% will stop using cars if trains become available. Dallas and Houston, Texas cities will some rail, only average about 2%-3% transit ridership market share, Austin will not be any different.

The new plan includes providing better transit services to southern Austin which the previous plans forgot. That may change the balance with the next rail transit referendum.

The UP has already spoken, any new train between Austin and San Antonio will never be on the rail corridors it owns. Lone Star Rail is deader than a squash armadillo in the middle of a highway.
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  #845  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2020, 1:09 PM
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Cap Metro recommends downtown subway system in multibillion-dollar light rail system

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200...ht-rail-system
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  #846  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2020, 2:37 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Make no small plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s blood...

I think a subway is a blunt way to solve the biggest problem with Austin transit, the reality that roads will have to be reconfigured to enable buses or LRV’s to not be stuck in traffic. To be honest I think Austin needs only one subway line under only a part of downtown no more than 2 or 3 miles long. The rest of the line would surely be at grade, and then any other corridors would be BRT instead of rail. But I think the city needs this rail spine, because otherwise any cheaper BRT line would take like 45 minutes just to go from UT to the river during the peak times that transit is in demand.
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  #847  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2020, 3:21 PM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
Make no small plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s blood...

I think a subway is a blunt way to solve the biggest problem with Austin transit, the reality that roads will have to be reconfigured to enable buses or LRV’s to not be stuck in traffic. To be honest I think Austin needs only one subway line under only a part of downtown no more than 2 or 3 miles long. The rest of the line would surely be at grade, and then any other corridors would be BRT instead of rail. But I think the city needs this rail spine, because otherwise any cheaper BRT line would take like 45 minutes just to go from UT to the river during the peak times that transit is in demand.
Agree. You won't get votes taking traffic lanes away, and you won't get riders putting transit in traffic. It is the only viable solution... or go elevated but then you have the neighborhood associations that will bemoan the aesthetic impact.
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  #848  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 4:41 AM
austin242 austin242 is offline
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Originally Posted by freerover View Post



So excited for this.
One problem I have with the renderings is that they put too much traffic in it. Voters see that and they will take it the wrong way.
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  #849  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 5:33 AM
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The bus systems in San Antonio and Austin have better transit ridership per capita and better transit mode share than Dallas, and Dallas has the largest light rail system in the country. Rail is not the answer when ridership is too low, rail is only the answer when ridership too high.

Don't think that rail will succeed where buses fail. Dallas made that mistake, and it's only last year that they finally made major expansion of their bus services that their ridership suddenly skyrocketed. Their ridership is on pace for 14% growth in 2019, 30% growth to bus ridership specifically. It's only when then stopped focusing on rail and stopped ignoring buses that they finally achieved significant ridership growth. When ridership is too low, buses are the key, not rail. When ridership is too high, that's when you start to think about rail.

Austin's ridership grew by 6% in 2019. What exactly is the problem here? They seem to be very well already without rail and I think they need to continue whatever they are doing now.

Seattle and Las Vegas, these are the cities that should be the role models for transit for the smaller systems across the US, not Dallas. The pro-rail/anti-bus mentality only leads to the decline of transit.

Light rail and subway lines need riders. You need to build up the ridership in the corridors. You need to know where the riders are to know where the rail corridors should be. You need to build a complete bus network so that the rail lines don't exist in isolation. Austin seems committed to doing that, but they need to finish doing that before they take the next step.
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  #850  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 3:23 PM
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This is probably really unfair but those images give the impression some European firm is in charge instead of some incompetent American planners with hardly any experience or only experience in North America. Maybe we're turning a corner with light rail planning in this country. Will also be really refreshing to see a large system built from the ground up instead of these little streetcar projects of seriously questionable utility and execution (not in all cases) for the last several years.

Nashville, you're up...
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  #851  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BnaBreaker View Post
Just because you get rattled and uncomfortable when people call out those with whom you align yourself politically doesn't mean there isn't any accuracy to their claims. As I've said before, it is certainly up for debate as to whether or not that was the right transit proposal for the city. So I'm not saying the proposal was perfect, or that there weren't legitimate reasons for opposing it, or that the Koch Brothers were the singular reason the proposal failed. But they were a significant factor. It is a fact that most of the shit spread around by this organization, which greatly benefits financially from the failure of non-fossil fuel dependent transportation methods, was at least exaggerated if not outright made up nonsense. It is also a fact that the proposal had majority support as well, until they started pumping millions into their campaign of lies. Nashville is not their only victim either. This is going to continue happening, however, until folks like you stop providing convenient cover for people like this who could care less about you or your best interest just because they claim the same political team as you.
No one is rattled. You guys are just making insane claims.

" which greatly benefits financially from the failure of non-fossil fuel dependent transportation methods"

I want you to think about how insanely stupid that comment is. Why would they put so much money into defeating a few miles of rail which will mostly be used by former bus riders and have horrible rideshare? If Nashville built the entire network they proposed, what percentage of people in Nashville will be riding it? 2-6%? That would impact global oil usage by a .00000000000000000000000000001%?

If they spent millions to defeat the federal government spending 5 trillion in rail expansion, you would have a point. But this is silly, and now you know it.
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  #852  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 4:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
The bus systems in San Antonio and Austin have better transit ridership per capita and better transit mode share than Dallas, and Dallas has the largest light rail system in the country. Rail is not the answer when ridership is too low, rail is only the answer when ridership too high.

Don't think that rail will succeed where buses fail. Dallas made that mistake, and it's only last year that they finally made major expansion of their bus services that their ridership suddenly skyrocketed. Their ridership is on pace for 14% growth in 2019, 30% growth to bus ridership specifically. It's only when then stopped focusing on rail and stopped ignoring buses that they finally achieved significant ridership growth. When ridership is too low, buses are the key, not rail. When ridership is too high, that's when you start to think about rail.

Austin's ridership grew by 6% in 2019. What exactly is the problem here? They seem to be very well already without rail and I think they need to continue whatever they are doing now.

Seattle and Las Vegas, these are the cities that should be the role models for transit for the smaller systems across the US, not Dallas. The pro-rail/anti-bus mentality only leads to the decline of transit.

Light rail and subway lines need riders. You need to build up the ridership in the corridors. You need to know where the riders are to know where the rail corridors should be. You need to build a complete bus network so that the rail lines don't exist in isolation. Austin seems committed to doing that, but they need to finish doing that before they take the next step.
Yes, rail lines are so rigid that they don't often get riders to their final destination nor do they get them from their starting point either. This is the last mile issue, and for short to middle distance riders this is a killer. This is why good complimentary bus service is so critical. LRT or subways on their own are not the magic bullet.

Too many cities also figure that rail is a means to eliminate a lot of buses.

I am from Ottawa, and the foolishness of this latter idea has caused an absolute uproar with the opening of the Confederation Line in this city. Service is worse and more unreliable than with the previous bus based system. Unless the problems with LRT are resolved soon, they will lose a lot of riders and much of City Council will be kicked out of office at the next election.
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  #853  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 8:04 PM
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LRT is not the answer in low ridership and spread out cities like Austin. If they spend that amount of money, they would be far better off with transitways and BRT lanes. Id it better to get 20km of new LRT with a subway or 200km of BRT serving hundreds of thousands of more people and thousands of more destinations? As for this idea that Americans wouldn't be caught dead on a bus then again, what's the point of LRT? In sprawling Austin, very few people are going to actually live near a station nor will their destination so they will still have to take the bus regardless.

Many US have cities have tried this notion that when it comes to LRT, "build it and they will come" but the reality is that in most these cities they haven't come. For most, all they ended up with people switching from the bus to the train but no new riders. Many LRT cities have per-capita ridership levels much lower than they did 30 years ago. Ottawa, which just built it's new Metro to replace the extremely successful Transitway, has managed to piss off many of it's riders because now their commute times have increased due to having to now transfer onto the LRT instead of enjoying their once seamless bus ride. Ottawa would have been far better served by building a bus-only tunnel a la Seattle as the tunnel was needed as there were so many buses in downtown Ottawa leading to bus gridlock

The comfort, speed performance, and operational costs benefits of LRT over buses, that too has been greatly narrowed. LRT will certainly always be a smoother and quieter ride than a bus due to running on rails but with the advent of battery powered buses, buses are far more beneficial than the diesel ones. The new battery buses offer far faster acceleration and a much more quiet one than their diesel counterparts, and offer the operation costs advantages of LRT by not having to pay for huge diesel bills. The newer DOUBLE articulated buses also increase capacity significantly and would be more than enough for even the busiest of LRT lines in the US. BRT is also far easier and cheaper to expand and doesn't have the maintenance costs of maintaining the maintain/replacing the overhead catenary or rails.

Last edited by ssiguy; Mar 7, 2020 at 8:24 PM.
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  #854  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 8:11 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Bunch of Canadians who have never been to Austin. You can't judge Austin from looking at Google Maps. You need to try driving in Austin in a car or ride the buses that exist already.

Austin is more centralized and urban in its core areas than you think. At the same time, there is a marginal level of return that is going to come from improving the local bus system any more than it has been. Over the last several years there has been increased frequencies. There are two north-south enhanced or rapid bus lines that use articulated vehicles and have shelter stops similar to what you would see on a streetcar line. The area that bus routes cover is approximately everywhere that transit will ever be effective.

Unfortunately, these buses are slow. Every major road in Austin has traffic congestion. This is because Austin is a young city that only had 200,000 people in the entire metro area back in 1960 and did not build huge avenues or radial freeways.

In order to take things to the next level there needs to be faster cross-town transit. BRT and LRT would end up needing the same infrastructure, BRT would not support things like local buses trunking onto a main line because the local routes would have radically different scheduling needs.
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  #855  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 8:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Renderings

Me likey!

This is probably really unfair but those images give the impression some European firm is in charge instead of some incompetent American planners with hardly any experience or only experience in North America.
I'd hope that the experienced European firm would be honest with a customer like Austin and tell them straight up that they should in no way be considering:

But with the commitment to light rail, expect the total cost to be closer to the $9.8 billion upper end of an earlier estimated cost range rather an estimate nearer to the $4.7 billion lower end, Couch said.

Given the lack of ridership in Austin. Even with recent the growth noted by Doady, looking at the past APTA ridership reports, it's still lower than it was in 2003.

Quote:
Will also be really refreshing to see a large system built from the ground up instead of these little streetcar projects of seriously questionable utility and execution (not in all cases) for the last several years.
There's Honolulu Rail Transit. An ambitious $3-$4B 20 mile elevated (and driverless) LRT that's exploded to over $9B and will cost more than $100M/year just to operate.

Last edited by accord1999; Mar 7, 2020 at 8:27 PM.
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  #856  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 8:16 PM
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  #857  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 8:43 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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So what is you guy's enlightened vision of Austin mass transit? Some more local buses that have to stop/start at every traffic light so the Burger King in Pflugerville gets 5 minute service frequencies? Sounds great, I'll totally trade in my car for that! /s

I'm glad none of the critics here can actually vote on this, since it is going to be a local election.
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  #858  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 9:43 PM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
So what is you guy's enlightened vision of Austin mass transit? Some more local buses that have to stop/start at every traffic light so the Burger King in Pflugerville gets 5 minute service frequencies? Sounds great, I'll totally trade in my car for that! /s

I'm glad none of the critics here can actually vote on this, since it is going to be a local election.
The Burger Kings here in Mississauga and Brampton get buses coming every 4-5 minutes and the ridership in these sprawling post-war suburbs is way, way higher than in Austin, or any mid-sized US city with LRT for that matter. Go ahead and keep mocking and laughing at the idea of a frequent and comprehensive bus service, but Austin will never have a successful rail system without it. To build rail on the basis of "low ridership" or the notion that buses can never have any sort of major role in attracting riders is just the recipe for failure. As I said, Austin and Dallas are currently experiencing ridership growth due to bus improvements and somehow you get so bent out of shape by people takking about the need for buses. If you guys continue thinking in terms of bus vs. rail, separate systems instead of one integrated system, your transit ridership will continue to suck, simple as that.
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  #859  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2020, 10:36 PM
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To everyone who says Austin should invest in busses instead of rail now, so that rail can succeed later, who also use lack of bus ridership as evidence in support of their argument:

This argument relies on the assumption that we can increase bus frequency and efficiency past where we are now. We can’t. Only rail can provide a more frequent and efficient service than the bus network that currently exists precisely for all of the reasons that pro-rail people mention: Austin’s built form and inherent traffic issues because of the built form of our car specific infrastructure and inability to expand that infrastructure because of the built form of our housing largely prohibits high frequency and efficient bus transit.

In other words, it is NOT just about population density, but also about built form. We aren’t asking voters to approve rapid transit. We are asking them to approve light rail in our most trafficked corridors with our highest transit shares with population densities higher than anywhere else in the south. These corridors are also some of the hottest development areas nationwide, and providing rail transit and fundamentally alter the development patterns further toward density.

Rail is the only answer here because rail is less constrained by the built form of existing infrastructure than are busses.

Key fact: there are only 10 access streets for ingress into and egress out of downtown, in a city that is more centralized than most of its southern peers. Period. 10 That’s all. All of arterial access points nearly immediately split into feeder corridors, compounding the problem because there is no concomitant traffic distributor streets within downtown itself because of our small and interrupted downtown grid with very narrow streets. And so does one of our freeways...

35-South
35-North
MoPac (north and south) via Cesar Chavez-West
Cesar Chavez-East
7th-East
MLK-East
Lamar/Burnet/Guadalupe-North
Lamar/Manchaca-South
South 1st
Manor

There are ZERO other meaningful ingress and egress routes.

Busses are inherently limited in the frequency they can provide through the corridors in ways that rail is not because our entire city is built for local vehicular traffic only.

In fact, building rail will allow Austin to more efficiently use its local traffic style road network for its bus system.
https://forum.skyscraperpage.com/sho...5&postcount=17

I’ll add: busses are inherently more limited even when there is dedicated infrastructure than is rail.
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  #860  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2020, 2:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
LRT is not the answer in low ridership and spread out cities like Austin. If they spend that amount of money, they would be far better off with transitways and BRT lanes. Id it better to get 20km of new LRT with a subway or 200km of BRT serving hundreds of thousands of more people and thousands of more destinations? As for this idea that Americans wouldn't be caught dead on a bus then again, what's the point of LRT? In sprawling Austin, very few people are going to actually live near a station nor will their destination so they will still have to take the bus regardless.

Many US have cities have tried this notion that when it comes to LRT, "build it and they will come" but the reality is that in most these cities they haven't come. For most, all they ended up with people switching from the bus to the train but no new riders. Many LRT cities have per-capita ridership levels much lower than they did 30 years ago. Ottawa, which just built it's new Metro to replace the extremely successful Transitway, has managed to piss off many of it's riders because now their commute times have increased due to having to now transfer onto the LRT instead of enjoying their once seamless bus ride. Ottawa would have been far better served by building a bus-only tunnel a la Seattle as the tunnel was needed as there were so many buses in downtown Ottawa leading to bus gridlock

The comfort, speed performance, and operational costs benefits of LRT over buses, that too has been greatly narrowed. LRT will certainly always be a smoother and quieter ride than a bus due to running on rails but with the advent of battery powered buses, buses are far more beneficial than the diesel ones. The new battery buses offer far faster acceleration and a much more quiet one than their diesel counterparts, and offer the operation costs advantages of LRT by not having to pay for huge diesel bills. The newer DOUBLE articulated buses also increase capacity significantly and would be more than enough for even the busiest of LRT lines in the US. BRT is also far easier and cheaper to expand and doesn't have the maintenance costs of maintaining the maintain/replacing the overhead catenary or rails.
Have you been to Austin? A large percentage of people work within walking distance of these proposed downtown stations. From an employment perspective it's one of the single most downtown-centralized metros in the country. Austin is not the decentralized spread-out city that you are imagining. (DFW, yes.)

BRT would still need its own ROW to be successful. There is no room on the surface streets to make that happen. It's either elevate or go underground. Underground solves the need to make room for stations, too.
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